Joet Gonzalez Wins Split Decision over Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera


By: Ken Hissner

Golden Boy Promotions over ESPN Friday night put on a boxing event at the Nova Theater in downtown L.A. showing two female matches prior to the main event with hometown favorite Joet Gonzalez and Mexico’s Rafael Rivera being quite unusual.

Featherweight Joet Gonzalez, 20-0 (11), of Glendora, CA, won a split decision over Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera, 25-2-2 (16), of Tijuana, Baja, CA, Mexico, for the vacant WBO NABO Featherweight Title.

In the first round both fighters were taking turns being the aggressor. Halfway through the round Rivera landed half a dozen punches before getting knocked back by a Gonzalez left hook to the chin. In the second round Rivera used a good left hook doubling it up on Gonzalez. Gonzalez, the taller of the two can’t hold off Rivera who came forth with combinations to body and head.

In the third round it was the first clinch caused by Gonzalez. Gonzalez tried to hold off Rivera with a jab but it wasn’t enough. Gonzalez seemed to have to take punches in bunches before fighting back. In the fourth round Gonzalez finally put more than a single punch at a time also using an occasional elbow. Rivera continued to throw more in return after Gonzalez lands several punches and moves back.

In the fifth round Gonzalez opened up with a 3-punch combination before Rivera came back with a combination. Whenever Rivera got hit to the head he immediately came back with a flurry. Gonzalez landed a combination and again moved away allowing Rivera to come back at him with a flurry. Gonzalez kept his hands up using a good defense but his face was showing the marks of the battle.

In the sixth round Rivera drove Gonzalez against the ropes with a flurry of punches. Halfway through the round it became a real fight. Gonzalez near the end of the round had Rivera holding on. In the seventh round the fans start chanting “Joet, Joet” urging Gonzalez to be more offensive. Rivera rarely threw a jab living up to his nick name “Bang Bang” throwing punches. Gonzalez was using his strength inside landing a good right uppercut to the chin until a Rivera left hook stopped him from using his strength.

In the eighth round Rivera landed a double left hook to the liver. Rivera came forward low but not throwing punches until he got hit by Gonzalez. In the ninth round Gonzalez continued to come forward with hands held high allowing Rivera to get to his body. Gonzalez comes forward but not throwing the jab much looking for the big punch. Rivera countered a jab from Gonzalez with a right to the chin. Halfway through the round with Rivera inside he would hold Gonzalez’s glove with his arm until seperated.

In the tenth and final round Gonzalez used his jab as Rivera tried using his but falling short. Halfway through the round both fighters opened up knowing the fight may be on the line. Both opened up the last thirty seconds right to the bell.

Judges scores were 96-94 Gonzalez, 96-94 Rivera and 97-93 for Gonzalez. This writer had it 96-94 Rivera.

Gonzalez said “I’m calling out all featherweights including Gary Russell. I thought I won the fight easily.” He better watch what he is asking for. “He never hurt me. I knew coming from Tijuana it would be hard getting the win. I thought I won,” said Rivera. In the amateurs the jab scores points but in the pro’s Rivera throwing twice as many punches should have meant a victory.

In the co-main event flyweight Siessa “Super Bad” Estrada, 14-0 (4), of East L.A. easily stopped Jhosep “La Chica de Oro” Vizcaino, 7-7- (3) of Quito, ECU, at 0:20 of round 3.

In the first round it was all Estrada who was taking a flurry of punches and countered with a left hook dropping Vizdaino. In the second round Estrada turned southpaw up until near the end of the round switching back to orthodox. The referee Zachary Young gave Vizcaino a warning to start fighting back.

In the third round Estrada landed many punches to the head before landing a left hook to the liver of Vizdaino who after a slight delay went to the canvas causing referee Young to stop the lopsided fight. To her credit Vizdaino came without a trainer as a substitute replacing the scheduled Christian Gonzalez-German Meraz co-feature.

Super middleweight Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo, 12-2 (5), of Los Angelos, CA, stopped Samantha Pill, 3-1 (0), of Fairmont, WV, at 0:41 of the third round in a scheduled 6.

In the first round Cornejo pressed Pill who used a counter jab for the most part. It wasn’t until near the end of the round that a solid punch was landed by Cornejo a right to the chin of Pill.

In the second round Pill drove Cornejo back several steps with a right to the chin. The action picked up when Pill decided to mix it up but took a beating before she started moving as she did in the first round. You can tell Pill was an MMA boxer with little boxing experience.

In the third round Cornejo continued dishing out a beating on Pill. Referee Jack Reis wisely stopped the onslaught early in the round seeing that Pill didn’t know how to cover up taking too much punishment.

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